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Article ThumbUp in the Air

You may have seen an air plant hanging in an open-faced glass vase or hanging from a seashell at your local garden center. They are becoming popular. Air plants are easy to grow if you follow a few rules – and easy to kill if you don’t. Air plants may be sold with the hype that they live on nothing but air, but this is not the case.


Article ThumbBeyond Violet

African violets are pushing the envelope when it comes to colors and flower forms. Ruffles, anyone?

When I was a child, I was totally mesmerized by the intense colors of the African violets that seemed to bloom continuously on my grandmother’s windowsills. I would stare in wonder at those jewel-colored blooms surrounded by collars of fuzzy leaves, fully convinced that only experienced gardeners of my grandmother’s reputation could get plants to bloom so gloriously indoors.


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Tool Time

If you grow vegetables, one of the most valuable tools around is a soil thermometer. That’s because many vegetable seeds ...


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Fit for a Queen

The juxtaposition is a little jarring at first, and then you start to smile. You’re downtown, driving along Lake Shore Drive ...


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Pretty in (everything but) Pink

I’m not paranoid but it’s out to get me. It’s everywhere. It’s in my life, my dreams, my backyard, my garden.


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From the Editor - NovDec 2016

The most memorable Christmas of my Chicago life was the year the temperature plummeted to 25 below zero and the pipes froze …


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Mike’s Instant Holiday Hort Sing Along: Just Add Snow

I’m often asked, “How do you do it, Mike … year after year?” That’s the wrong question. The right question is “Why do you do it,


questions

I have lost four 12-15 foot tall white pine trees over the last year. All had the same symptoms, browning needles at the bottom that continued up to the top. Can you tell me what pest is killing the white pines? I am also losing an Austrian pine now. It is experiencing the same symptoms.

I have two 20-year-old pine trees whose needles are turning brown on the west side of the plants. On the east side I have a compost pile.

I live in the St. Charles region and my soil is mostly clay. What is causing the browning? Should I get rid of the compost? How do I correct the damage?

What is the largest tree that one can plant? We are trying to replace some 7- to 8-foot trees that were recently destroyed.

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